Eden Hazard admits he is feeling under great pressure from being the stand-out player in a very strong Belgium squad.
The 23 year-old has improved greatly and has flourished sinced his £32m move to Stamford bridge back in 2012 but he has confessed that the price tag and the expectations that come with what he has achieved, places great pressure on him to perform in this year’s World Cup.
He told reporters of Times of India: “It’s great to carry the burden of a nation and on the other hand, it’s huge pressure whenever you are on the pitch.
“Belgian people are aware of my price tag and so I guess it is quite natural for them to pin their hopes on me. I am only 23 but I am exposed to plenty of top level football to have a fair idea of what the World Cup will mean to me and my team.
“We have some exciting young talents who have the ability to turn a match on their own.”
Hazard made a very strong start to his tournament, helping his side ease past a stubborn Algerian defence. The former Lille player now wants ‘to force the world to focus’ on Belgium as their squad is full of talent and their chances of a strong campaign are high.
“It was a dream-come-true for me,” Hazard spoke after his 2-1 win over Algeria. This is the biggest of all tournaments. It’s a celebration time for football and for the participating nations.
“We have qualified for the finals after a long gap of 12 years. That was a great excitement for all of us. Getting to Brazil was a dream for all of us and we have reached here.
“Now the dream is to play as well as possible and force the world to focus on us. Our first target is to qualify from the group. To do so we have to play really well.
“Once we reach there, in the knockout, no one can predict anything. So, let’s just concentrate on the job at hand.”
By Phil Wellbrook